The island of Java is a perfect example of a type of agriculture that is widespread in South-East Asia: irrigated rice growing.
Early in the history of the region, the mastery of water systems allowed peasants to reach high and stable yields on fields which were cultivated without any interruption. Very demanding in field work, irrigated rice growing requires a highly organized community.
Though small, a surplus in yields allowed the division of labour and an early emergency of a prosperous agrarian civilization. Since the beginning of the XIXth century, a heavy increase of population in Java has broken the age-old balance.
For nearly two centuries, Java has been trying to adjust its rice production
with the demographic increase. The expansion of cultivated lands resolved
the problem for some time. Later on, the percentage of rice in the local
diet slowly decreased. Recently, the green revolution , will help Java
to attain again an excess of rice production.